McGrady, Rockets survive near collapse vs. BullsNov 17, 2006 - 4:20 AM HOUSTON (Ticker) -- Tracy McGrady and the Houston Rockets have some major issues with obtaining big leads.
McGrady collected 21 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists and Yao Ming added 20 points and 12 rebounds as the Rockets survived a 37-point effort from Ben Gordon and edged the Chicago Bulls, 101-100.
Rafer Alston scored 19 points for Houston, which has won seven of the last eight meetings with Chicago.
The Rockets had a 19-point lead against the San Antonio Spurs before being outscored, 49-28, in the second half and suffering a 92-84 setback Tuesday. Against the Bulls, the Rockets were in front by as many as 21 points, but barely held on.
"The games weren't similar at all. They were exactly the same," Houston coach Jeff Van Gundy said. "We, obviously have some trouble right now closing out games. We're doing some good things to get ahead."
"We're at our best when we're attacking, playing aggressively, when we try to force our tempo on the other team," Rockets forward Shane Battier said. "When we play like that, we get some nice margins. But you have a tendency in sports no matter what the level, it's difficult to maintain that, sometimes you let up. The ounce of letting up gives the other team confidence, and an ounce of confidence to a good team in this league, you're in trouble."
Houston's double-digit advantage was reduced to 90-86 on a 3-pointer by Andres Nocioni with 1:23 left. McGrady responded 15 seconds later with a jumper to extend the lead back to six.
The Rockets managed to offset nine consecutive points by Gordon in the final 33 seconds by sinking 9-of-10 shots from the foul line.
"To play so well for two, three quarters, and the fourth quarter, it's always something," McGrady said. "Somebody gets hot on us, we marked the hell out of that guy, and we can't stop him. Ben Gordon was that guy tonight. It's got to stop, because we can't continue to go through the course of the season where we think we play good for three quarters, have a lead and expect to win games."
Gordon made 11-of-22 shots and 14-of-16 free throws and Luol Deng had 15 points for the Bulls, who fell to 0-2 on their seven-game road trip.
"We waited too long to have the type of intensity we needed to win the game," Chicago coach Scott Skiles said. "We got aggressive on the defensive end in the second half, and that gave us the chance to win."
Bulls center Ben Wallace suffered a bicep injury during the game.
"I'll play if it's feeling like this next game," Wallace said. "I heard a little pop, and I don't know how it exactly happened. I was able to come back, and it hurt a little, but nothing I couldn't play with."
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